Table of Contents Forums Dictionary Recommended Reading Marketplace Giftshop What I Ate Deals Michael's Blog
Latest Post on Michael's Blog: Restaurant Review: Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar of Austin
Equipment & Gear

Saber Kitchen Knives

by Michael Chu
Normal view
Next »
« Prev
As a fairly picky, detail-oriented person, it's not often that I find a product that I like. It's even more difficult for me to be pleased once I've experienced a wide range of products that perform the same task but are of widely varying performance, quality, and feel. This is especially true of knives - so it came as a surprise that I would find myself wholeheartedly recommending a knife set from Saber Knives.

I should start at the beginning of the story of these knives. Inventor and entrepreneur, Richard Menefee decided to stage (work without pay in hopes of learning the trade) for six months in the kitchen of Michael's On Main in Soquel, California to improve his cooking skills (in much the same way Bill Buford did before writing Heat). From this experience, Menefee learned a couple hard truths - cooking in a commercial kitchen is some of the hardest and most demanding work around and those who choose to do so are generally not well compensated. Menefee found that most of the cooks and chefs could barely make their rent and afford daily necessities much less saving up for high quality tools of their trade. After his time at the restaurant, Rich decided to thank those he worked alongside of and learned from by doing what he does best. He designed a safe, comfortable, and sturdy knife bag, then manufactured a handful which he gave out as gifts. The bags were such a hit that everyone who got one started to provide feedback on how to make them even better. After several revisions, Menefee felt he had a product that culinary students, chefs and cooks might purchase.

Menefee took his bags to the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) to see if they'd be interested in the bags. The CIA loved them, but told Rich that they get bags for free from the knife makers. The bags supplied by the knife makers weren't nearly as nice, useful, or safe, but it's hard to beat free. It was then that the words: "Richard...you should put the same level of devotion and caring into a set of knives to match your lovely bag" were uttered and Menefee started an 18-month project that resulted in the set he is selling under the brand Saber Knives.

As is true of all products, there's a target audience. The MAC knives I use and the Global knives that my wife uses are expensive and aimed at people with disposable income, executive chefs, and the cognoscenti. They are sharp, hold an edge supremely well, and not only look beautiful, but feel wonderful when using them. They are also around $100 each. The most popular German knives are in the same ballpark - $80 to $100 per knife, but are designed differently. Generally, they are heavier and less delicate. The thicker blade isn't suitable for holding an edge with an angle as narrow as the Japanese blades, but the heft of the knife helps cut through when razor sharpness cannot. Again, for students and cooks, it's a high price to ask for a quality tool. (Just a few months ago, I met a fishmonger at the headquarter Whole Foods in Austin who saved up for a year to buy his Shun knife - waiting until he felt like he had matured enough to take care of a knife as expensive and beautiful as a Shun.) There is a place for expensive tools - sometimes you have to pay for quality - but what if you can't afford it? Are you stuck with inferior products (like Chef's Mate from the grocery store or J.A. Henckels International that is sold as an affordable alternative to the overpriced world-famous Zwilling J.A. Henckels lines)? For years, I've been telling people that there are high-performance kitchen knives available for the masses with the Forschner Chef's Knife as one of my favorites. It is this market segment - affordable but high quality - that Saber Knives is trying to satisfy.

Over the last couple months, I've had the opportunity to test Menefee's hot dropped and fully forged Saber Knives, and I'm happy to say that here is another affordable knife that performs like its more expensive counterparts. I ran it through the same battery of tests that I performed in our Equipment & Gear: Chef's Knives Rated article and found it to be around the same cutting performance as Wusthof. There are some differences though. Each of the Saber Knives has a granton edge (divots are cut into the side of the blade to reduce the surface area that food like potatoes and cucumbers could stick to). That's every single knife (except the bread knife) - even the paring and utility knives. Why? I suppose it was a matter of "why not". The granton edge does work in reducing sticking, and it certainly doesn't hurt on the smaller knives. The santoku is a little larger than most santokus we've tested, but it's the first one that Tina has liked in terms of curvature and how it moves in her hand as she cuts. That's saying a lot given that we've tried a half a dozen santokus - some as expensive as $350.



The bag that the set comes with is really a magnificent knife bag. I've been using a $40 Dexter-Russell bag for the last couple years and the design lets blades slide around during transportation. There's a strip of Velcro that's supposed to do something, but I'm not sure it works except at being annoying. I've resorted to buying knife blade protectors ($2-$5 each depending on material and size) for each of the knives I carry in the bag so I don't end up cutting myself. My bag is also soft and flexible which means I have to lie it down flat or risk having the knives slip out of their sleeves and pool at the bottom of the bag (knocking against each other as I pick up the bag again). It's ridiculous, but there was nothing better... until I opened up Menefee's bag. His bag is compact (but holds twelve knives, a cleaver, honing steel, and a pouch for other small tools), made of durable nylon (reinforced by stiff paper board), stores blades snugly and safely, has a heavy-duty zipper, and comfortable hand grip (as well as a detachable shoulder strap that doesn't need to be unclipped to open the bag unlike my Dexter-Russell bag).


The Saber knife bag works differently than most other knife bags - the blades are inserted into tight fitting sleeves (instead of the handles dropped into pockets), so much of the blade is covered and the rest of the edge is held snugly against the side of the bag. Additionally, nearly undetectable magnets embedded under the blade sleeves help keep the knives in place under normal transportation conditions. When I received the bag with knife samples, it had traveled halfway across the country via UPS. The box arrived beaten up and dirty (I'm living in a rural area right now and stuff seems to always come having tumbled in some dirt and dust). When I opened it, only a couple knives had slipped out of their sheaths, but the bag was still perfectly safe due to the protected cloth covers (which Velcro down snugly). Under normal use, I've not experienced any slipping or sliding of the blades.


Knife bag after UPS shipping



Only two knives out of position after shipping



Saber Knives are made of a blend of German steels and manufactured in China (the blades are completely hot drop forged - no welding of forged or stamped components or other funny stuff). A lot of stuff made in China is low quality, but there is a lot of stuff that is high quality (often coming out of the same factory). In the end, it depends on how much you want to pay for your manufactured good - the Chinese are happy to accommodate. Although the knives are more expensive to manufacture than many others made in China, Menefee feels that he can keep total cost down by keeping his staff lean (he doesn't have a secretary and writes his own letters), producing only two product lines (a set with the bag for professionals and a set with a block for home chefs - keeping down inventory and packaging costs), and sacrificing a bit of his profits. In the e-mail interviews that I've had with Menefee, he struck me as a man with a mission - focused from his time in the restaurant kitchen working alongside people less financially fortunate. In our conversations he keeps coming back to the need for affordable but quality tools. His current target? A street price around $300 for either set.

At $300, his home chef set will have a unique wood block (designed so you can see which blade you are about to draw), kitchen shears, honing steel, and the knives. As of my last correspondence, a variety of vendors will be carrying this set as production ramps up in the coming months. As vendor commits and details become available, I'll either update this article or post a comment with the information.

The Saber knife set is a deal and perfect for anyone starting out on a culinary career, getting into their first apartment, just learning to cook, or avid cooks who never got around to getting a set of high quality blades. The set costs half as much as similar quality knives (the only thing you don't get are bragging rights about the recognizable German company name and where they are manufactured), which makes them perfect for the individual who is more concerned about performance, practicality, and cost over prestige and status.


The set for the home will most likely include:
Wood block
Scissors
Two 3.5-in. paring knives
4.5-in. paring knife
5-in. French boning knife
5-in. tomato knife
6-in. utility knife
8-in. serrated bread knife
7-in. santoku
8-in. chef's knife
Fork
Steel


The professional/student set will most likely include:
Knife bag
3.5-in. paring
4.5-in. paring
5-in. French boning
6-in. utility
7-in. santoku
8-in. chef's knife
8-in. serrated bread
8-in. slicer
10-in. ham slicer
10-in. chef's knife
Steel


Update (Oct 5, 2009): The knives should be available on Amazon.com in a couple days. Click here to go to the Amazon.com listing for Saber Knives professional set.

Update (Dec 7, 2009):Costco.com has begun to sell the Saber Knives Professional Knife Bag. At the time of this writing it is $55, which I think is a great price given how much other knife bags cost and how much better this one works.

Rich Menefee is so confident in his knives that he's now offered to send a free paring knife to anyone from the continental United States (due to shipping costs) who asks. Just send an email to Info@saberknives.com with the subject "Free Paring Knife", mention that you read about the offer on Cooking For Engineers, and include your name and address. He says he won't hassle you with surveys or stuff like that - he just wants you to have a chance to try the knife and decide for yourself.

Update (Dec 12, 2009): Mr. Menefee has informed me that after giving out something like a hundred knives, he has to stop the free knife promotion. The rest of his paring knife stock is reserved to be packaged with the each knife bag sold at Costco (starting this week). So, you can no longer get a free knife by emailing Saber Knives.

Update (January 11, 2009): Saber Knives has set up an online store for people to direct order from. They are also offering individual knives at $7 an inch (so an 8-in chef's knife would cost $56). In addition, if you order directly from them through this link, a portion of the sale will be be provided to Cooking For Engineers to help with the upkeep of the site and future articles. Saber Knives Store

Update (March 9, 2010): Due to abuse of the Costco return policy (people were buying the knife bag with paring knife, keeping the knife, and returning the bag to Costco - the Costco employees aren't well versed enough in their online merchandise to demand the knife back - which results in Saber eating the costs associated with returned merchandise an addition to the loss of a paring knife), free paring knives are no longer available with the knife bag. Buying a knife direct from Saber Knives is the best way to try one out if you don't want to commit to a set.

Update (April 2, 2010): Costco.com is now selling a knife set from Saber for $199 which comes with a knife block, chef's knife, bread knife, utility, santoku, tomato knife, paring knife, and eight steak knives. There is also a sharpener that is cleverly tucked away and held in place by a magnet at the base of the knife block.


Next »
« Prev
Written by Michael Chu
Published on September 30, 2009 at 10:01 PM
47 comments on Saber Kitchen Knives:(Post a comment)

On October 01, 2009 at 04:58 AM, madball911 said...
Subject: Saber knives
I'm drooling over that case. And the block is ingenious. Love that it's open, especially at the bottom. I get kind of weirded out every time I think about what's inside the closed holes of my current knife block.


On October 01, 2009 at 05:32 PM, Jason (guest) said...
Subject: available
Any idea when these will be available?


On October 02, 2009 at 02:29 PM, Guest (guest) said...
Subject: price change
In your Orthogonal Thought post you promised the 10-piece set would only be $200. Now they're $300? I'm disappointed, man.

(Just kidding. I'm drooling.)


On October 02, 2009 at 05:13 PM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: price change
Guest wrote:
In your Orthogonal Thought post you promised the 10-piece set would only be $200. Now they're $300? I'm disappointed, man.

(Just kidding. I'm drooling.)

I did, didn't I? I think that's still a goal for Menefee over time - to be able to produce a set that retails around $200, but I suppose it's not easy to convince retail stores to carry your product if profit for them is going to be to small. If this first batch sells well, he should be able to order a much larger batch of knives to be forged which should bring the cost down. At $300 it's a good deal especially if you consider that an equivalent bag or block is probably $75-$100. Well, there isn't an equivalent bag or block on the market, so I just made those numbers up - the bag really is better than anything else I've tried and the block is both unique and genius.


On October 03, 2009 at 05:41 PM, CookBot (guest) said...
Subject: I want both!
I hope they sell those blocks and bags separately from the full knife set, cause I want both! That's hands-down the best knife block design I've ever seen, and the bag looks terrific too, even though I don't often transport knives.


On October 05, 2009 at 06:15 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: When are they coming?
Any idea when these knives will be on the market? I've just gotten my first real apartment and I'm tired of using my roommates shoddy, blunt knives. These look perfect, and just in my budget.


On October 05, 2009 at 11:42 PM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Availability
Received an update on when the knives will become available. It looks like it'll be on Amazon.com first and may be available as early at Wednesday October 7, 2009. Saber Knives told me the first batch has already been shipped and is en route to Amazon.com.

Here's where you'll find it on Amazon.com: click to go to Amazon.com's listing of Saber Knives


On October 06, 2009 at 04:19 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: not sure this is such a deal...
I don't know that I'm as convinced this is such a "deal". Full disclosure: I haven't used the Saber knives, so what I'm saying below is based on general thoughts about purchasing knives, as well as Michael's description of the Saber knives.

Getting a large set of knives is almost always a bad idea for a beginner, and frankly even for more advanced cooks. Typical advice would be to start with a chef's knife, a paring knife, and a bread knife that can double as a slicer. For a similar amount of money, one could buy a Tojiro DP chef's knife, a Misono or Shun paring knife, and a Forschner bread knife -- and still have a good chunk of change left over. Bottom line is that it's a myth that you have to spend huge amounts of money to get good quality Japanese knives.

The Saber knives look heavy, and with a full bolster will be a PITA to sharpen. Granton edges are less functional than most people would like you to believe (compare this to Glestain knives, where stick resistance is seriously reduced...other than that Granton edges are typically not worth it). By contrast, the chef and paring knives in the starter set above will deliver much higher performance to the average home chef.

Just a note to prospective purchasers of such a thing: find a way to get your hands on Chad Ward's An Edge in the Kitchen (if you can't afford the book then take a look at your library), or spend a little bit of time on Knifeforums.com "In The Kitchen" forum, before plunking down $300. You may well find that you are able to both save your hard earned cash and come out with a high performance solution.


On October 06, 2009 at 04:59 PM, Michael Chu said...
Truth be told, I did struggle a bit with this part - the massive set. I wrote a paragraph on it several times while preparing this review and in the end axed it because I couldn't get the right message across. It occurs to me that in the various revisions of the review, I lost the crux of it - so here's my executive summary:

Saber Knives performs on par or better than famous brand named German knives. Saber Knives do not perform as well as the Japanese knives that I prefer. The bag and/or block that comes with Saber Knives are unique. The bag is the best designed knife bag I've ever seen or used to date.


On October 06, 2009 at 07:18 PM, Dilbert said...
I have a small issue with the block design.

it is neat - it is unique - it is clever. in theory I like it....

my problem is the vertical withdraw motion needed. on a counter top with overhead cabinets, a slanted withdraw angle avoids the knuckle banging on the over head cabinet bottom.

if one has a "clear" space - obviously not a problem. but in working up a custom design block for my collection I am concerned with having an angle that permits an easy withdraw motion. my cooktop has a hood - and overhead cabinets left and right - so a "vertical" withdraw of an 8 inch or ten inch knife just would not work without pulling the whole block out to the front of the counter.


On October 08, 2009 at 05:35 AM, Rich Menefee (guest) said...
Subject: Saber Knives responds
Hello all, this is Rich Menefee, founder and creator of Saber Knives.

I wanted to take this opportunity to address something that " Dilbert " mentioned in his constructive criticism of my block.

Dilbert, you are absolutely correct on your observations on the limitation of my block. I know this because I discovered it early on in the prototype stages.

There are hundreds of block designs currently on the market. In my humble opinion they are all roughly the same. Slightly different shapes, colors, materials...but basically a sloped / slotted hunk of wood that prevents you from seeing the desired blade, holes that fill up with all manner of debris, and are stationary.

I felt there were ample options for consumers who wanted a block that was traditional and common.

My goal was to do something completely different.

Is it for everyone? Obviously not.

I have one of these blocks on my counter top, ( I'm not just the founder, I'm a customer ) and I have cabinets that hang down and prevent me full access to the block.

This is what I have done. I have placed one side of the base against the side of my stove top. I have then moved it just far enough away from the tile back splash so it rotates freely on its lazy Susan base.

It is high enough off the counter so it clears my stove top, and I simply rotate the device towards the stove top where there is ample room for me to pull the biggest knife out without interference under the range hood.

This process is very simple as I can not only see what blade I wish to pull, but can easily rotate into position.

I look forward to answering any questions you might have about my product and encourage any of you who have ideas on how to improve upon any of my products to please contact me.

Nothing would make me happier then to listen to the people who buy these things on how to make them better.

You have my word on it.

Thanks,

Rich Menefee


On October 10, 2009 at 07:03 AM, Michael Chu said...
It looks like Amazon.com has a seller pricing the set at $350. I've received a couple emails asking me if I really do recommend these knives at $300 (and I guess, now at $350) and to be honest, I didn't know the price would rise so high. When I started testing the knives I thought the set would have a street price of around $200-$250, but since then (apparently due to market forces and economics of the retail world) the price has jumped 50%. I still think these are a great alternative to Henckels and Wusthof, but I'd probably opt for a set of Forschner or a few Japanese knives now that we're talking $350. I know that day in and day out, I use an 8-in chef's and a paring and that's pretty much it. In my block, those are the two that are "expensive" and the rest (bread knife, boning, etc.) are fine quality, but low cost (nothing over $20). However, if you are new to cooking and want to have a full set so you can experiment with what knives feel best for different tasks or you like to have a set of high quality matching knives, then purchasing a set isn't a bad idea - and this is a good quality full set that is still a really good price. Unfortunately, at $350, I can't recommend the set to everyone. (At $200, it was easy to make that recommendation - at $300 when I published the article it was a harder - at $350, I felt it was necessary to write this comment.)


On October 17, 2009 at 02:50 AM, an anonymous reader said...
Will the knife bag be available for purchase separately?


On October 17, 2009 at 07:17 AM, Michael Chu said...
Anonymous wrote:
Will the knife bag be available for purchase separately?

At first, I think it will not - but it is my understanding that it will eventually be available. I don't know how much it will be or when they will be available, but if I find out, I'll let you guys know.


On October 19, 2009 at 06:41 PM, Rich Menefee (guest) said...
Subject: Saber Bags
Hi all, yes, the bags will be for sale very shortly. They will be offered on Amazon.com and at Costco.com very soon.

I'm betting Amazon first as we are already set up with them...and Costco within a few weeks as there is a lot of paperwork to be concluded prior to it being available.

Retail on this bag should be about $50 to $60 dollars.

I built this bag after looking at all of the others on the market that were selling for between $75 and $100 dollars.

I am certain you will all love it.

Thanks,

Rich


On November 07, 2009 at 09:35 PM, an anonymous reader said...
What type of material is the handle made of?

It looks like either wood (which is banned in 38 states because it absorbs moisture and encourages bacteria growth) or a cheap plastic (which is dangerously slippery when wet).


On November 09, 2009 at 07:02 PM, auramae (guest) said...
Subject: Using the set for a couple of weeks
I picked up the set with bag after reading this and emailing the company. It is very nice to have a full set. Before this I had an 8" MAC chef's knife (on recommendation of this site) and a good paring knife from the restaurant supply. The rest of my collection was a mid-priced set that I had received as a wedding gift. I have given my old knives (except for the MAC) to my daughter who has just moved into her first apartment.

The 8" & 10" chef's knives are heavy, but well balanced. I am an average American female and I don't find them unwieldy or awkward to use.

I like that there are two sizes of paring knives.

The slicer is a dream, but my big love of the set is the bread knife. It is a rock star.

As some people have said, the other knives are used less frequently, but it is nice to know they are there. I don't use a French Boning knife much, but maybe I will now that I have it!

What I have really enjoyed is having a number of "good" knives for when I have friends & family "helping" in the kitchen. I can send them off to slice & dice with one knife while I am using another.

The case is great. I keep mine in a block I already had for home use, and I am auditioning for the Food Network, so I hope to have need for a travel case soon. :)


On November 13, 2009 at 11:09 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Block design
After Shopping around for a 5 piece Shun knife set for $300, the 11 pc Saber look very tempting.

Anyhow, I was wondering about the wood block design. My current cheap knife block has vertical slits (angled for easy withdrawal) but the knives cut the block taking the knife in and out. The wood is cut worst on the slits for my steak knives because the blade is jagged.

The Saber knife block has great ideas but it has the same flaw that my knife block has. I know that Rachel Ray's furi set and Shun rotated the slits 90 degrees to accommodate withdrawal. This is one thing that would prevent me from buying a set like this. If my girlfriend or friends mishandle came over and mishandled my knifes just a few times, not only will the blades dull faster, but the block will be cut up.

Also, it doesn't mention anywhere if the blade resembled Global/Shun 15-16 degrees angle or the 20 degree German angle. I'm guessing 20 degrees since its more comparable to German Knifes.

I wish i had a use for the knife bag, but i don't. It sure looks like the bag to get.


On November 14, 2009 at 06:08 AM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: Block design
Anonymous wrote:
Anyhow, I was wondering about the wood block design. My current cheap knife block has vertical slits (angled for easy withdrawal) but the knives cut the block taking the knife in and out. The wood is cut worst on the slits for my steak knives because the blade is jagged.

The Saber knife block has great ideas but it has the same flaw that my knife block has.

Not sure I understand the problem. Vertical knife slots in a "traditional" block are an issue because gravity holds the sharp edge of the knife against the wood as you pull the knife. A straight up system like Saber has or horizontal system like many contemporary blocks have do not have this problem since gravity isn't pulling the knife blade into the wood...


On November 29, 2009 at 08:55 AM, RobertSeviour (guest) said...
Subject: Bah - The Pretentious Consumer Lifestyle
Get a grip folks. You are nuts to pay hundreds of dollars for such things. The four billion poor people on this planet know that any knife that isn't blunt is good enough. I've managed perfectly well for years with a dollar store bread knife and my Swiss Army knife.


On November 30, 2009 at 11:49 PM, BigWayne said...
Subject: Re: Block design
Michael Chu wrote:
Anonymous wrote:
Anyhow, I was wondering about the wood block design. My current cheap knife block has vertical slits (angled for easy withdrawal) but the knives cut the block taking the knife in and out. The wood is cut worst on the slits for my steak knives because the blade is jagged.

The Saber knife block has great ideas but it has the same flaw that my knife block has.

Not sure I understand the problem. Vertical knife slots in a "traditional" block are an issue because gravity holds the sharp edge of the knife against the wood as you pull the knife. A straight up system like Saber has or horizontal system like many contemporary blocks have do not have this problem since gravity isn't pulling the knife blade into the wood...


On traditional blocks, the problem can be solved quite easily by putting the knives in with the edge pointed up. Simple engineering solution I figured out long ago from observing the cuts in the wood.


On December 01, 2009 at 01:50 AM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: Block design
BigWayne wrote:
On traditional blocks, the problem can be solved quite easily by putting the knives in with the edge pointed up. Simple engineering solution I figured out long ago from observing the cuts in the wood.

That does work for many households, but I could never recommend it - the balance of some blades cause them to be able to slide backwards and out of the block if the block is jostled or accidentally struck.


On December 03, 2009 at 07:04 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: block design
Quote:
A straight up system like Saber has or horizontal system like many contemporary blocks have do not have this problem since gravity isn't pulling the knife blade into the wood...


Can you explain this? Based on the picture above, the knives are lowered vertically, not horizontally into a block on a lazy Susan. The only thing stopping the knife from falling through the block is the width of the blade that is pitched on the back of the blade and the SHARP edge. After taking the knife in and out enough times you will be cutting the block and hence dulling the blade. Yes?


On December 03, 2009 at 10:42 PM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: block design
Anonymous wrote:

Michael Chu wrote:
A straight up system like Saber has or horizontal system like many contemporary blocks have do not have this problem since gravity isn't pulling the knife blade into the wood...


Can you explain this? Based on the picture above, the knives are lowered vertically, not horizontally into a block on a lazy Susan. The only thing stopping the knife from falling through the block is the width of the blade that is pitched on the back of the blade and the SHARP edge. After taking the knife in and out enough times you will be cutting the block and hence dulling the blade. Yes?

The knives are held up by their finger guards - all the slots are wider than the blade from spine to cutting edge, so no part of the edge should touch. Each slot is not so deep as to allow the blade to drop in past the finger guard and for the santoku (which does not have a guard) the bolster rests on the edge of the slot.


On December 07, 2009 at 08:03 PM, Michael Chu said...
I just added some more info to the bottom of the article:
1. Mr. Menefee has offered to send anyone who emails and asks for a paring knife a free 3.5-in paring knife so they can try out the knife for themselves.
2. Costco.com now sells the professional knife bag for $55.

Scroll up to the bottom of the article to see the details.


On December 14, 2009 at 04:52 AM, Michael Chu said...
Paring knives are no longer available for free by emailing Saber Knives.


On December 18, 2009 at 02:11 PM, Mark T (guest) said...
Subject: saberknives OUTSTANDING
The knife arrived arrived yesterday Thursday 12/17, after requesting it last Friday 12/11. Wow, that is fast. Lucky for me, got one of the last free ones

OUTSTANDING KNIFE !

My only wish is a la carte offering. $100 is the price point for treating myself THIS YEAR.

If they can sell this way,
I would buy either one of the following 3 piece sets

$75 for 5",6",7" boning,utility, santoku
$85 - 6,7,8 utility, santoku, chef
$95 - 6,7,10 utility, santoku, chef

and I told them so, got my fingers crossed...


On December 29, 2009 at 04:43 AM, Kathy (guest) said...
Subject: Where can I purchase these knives?!?!?
Can anyone tell me where I can find these knives? Amazon in out of stock! Thank you!


On January 11, 2010 at 09:25 PM, Michael Chu said...
Hopefully, this will make things easier for people who want to order Saber Knives. They just started an online store so you can direct order from them and given the number of people that have asked for the ability to buy one knife at a time, they are offering individual knives for sale at $7 per inch.

Saber Knives Store


On January 13, 2010 at 10:50 PM, Mary Chrismoose (guest) said...
Subject: Customer Comments
I don't even know where to start. There's so much to say about these knives :-)

I couldn't find them locally or online in time for Christmas, so I ordered direct from Mr Menefee, and he was both efficient and delightful to correspond with. It's always a joy to be "in touch" with inventors who love their work :-)

I think many of the criticisms that have been voiced here are accurate... I'm just not sure they're relevant <LOL!> Some of them sound like the culinary equivalent of looking at a Volkswagen and expecting it to be a Mercedes... or a Kia... That just... isn't what the Sabers are *for*, folks! <LOL!> They're not luxury items, and they're not dollar-store-throw-aways. They're good knives, and reasonably priced. Period.

Of course these are not the knives for everyone, they were never meant to be. They were meant to satisfy a specific, under-served niche in the market. I have no idea if they serve the intended market well or not, because I'm not it <LOL!> I'm a suburban minivan-mommy with three kids.

And I freaking LOVE this knife-and-block set.

With a family of 5, and two or three really expensive "good knives", you don't get much help in the kitchen. It's too inconvenient and intimidating.

With a generous set of awesome, sharp, well-balanced and designed knives that just beg to be used, you get people CLAMORING to help.
Put a price tag on *that*, I dare you! :-)

We've eaten more home-cooked meals since Christmas than we did for the last 6 MONTHS. No exaggeration. Because suddenly it is FUN to do the prep work again.

The main points that I would like to convey about these knives are obviously from a family/mommy perspective. But I don't see people expressing that perspective much, so here goes:

0. They're fun to use. Not annoying, finicky, or temperamental.
1. There are enough knives to go around a large family and let everyone help.
2. There are enough knives of different shapes and sizes to suit different hands and different tasks.
3. The knives have weight, substance, and enough polish to clearly announce themselves as "good knives", not "junk"
4. Despite being "good knives", they are not so expensive that dad has a heart attack when one gets run through the dishwasher or used to cut on a glass plate. He can philosophically comment "That's not how we treat the good knives, sweetie, it dulls them - here's how we fix that up again." and grab the steel to show 'em how it's done.
5. The knife block just plain rocks. It is the best knife block ever.
We have overhanging cabinets, but we just spin the rack until the desired handle protrudes from under the cabinet. Never even gave it a thought. The blades do not touch the block unless you try very hard, and the extra slots and spaces are extremely useful We've put aside two now-unneeded counter-top utensil containers because things fit so nicely in the Saber block.

I cannot BEGIN to stress enough how valuable it is, as a family who wishes to pass the love of good food, good cooking, good tools, and good relationships on to our children, to have tools that we can actually *afford* to teach our children to USE. Spending more money on individual knives to save money over this "set" would not achieve any of the goals *we* personally had (see above points).

If it weren't for the fact that the affordability was the point here, I'd say they were priceless <grin>.

But truly, their value is not counted in dollars, not by me, at least.
My kids have participated in meal prep voluntarily, and we've eaten and *enjoyed* creating home-cooked meals together almost every day since Christmas, and we just haven't ever done that before. We'd devolved into a convenience-food rut that really sucked. We even got a new crock pot just so we can have an excuse to cut up more veggies together ;-p

I just couldn't be happier with them.

As for my husband, who is the one who got them as a Christmas gift; well, he doesn't have much to say.
He's the quiet type.

But he hasn't griped once about anything to do with their form, function, or value. And he's in the kitchen, having fun with the kids again.
And for me, that says it all.


On April 20, 2010 at 06:30 AM, snacksgiving said...
Subject: Sold in Europe?
How about targetting Europe as well? I have a set from Zwilling & Henkels, but would love to try out Saber as well!
Checked out the amazon.co.uk, but I dont see the sets sold there.


On May 30, 2010 at 12:06 AM, Saber Customer (guest) said...
Subject: Europe Sales
Hey, just to answer your question, I know that the retail site for Saber, www.SaberKnifeStore.com, ships to Europe. Take Care!


On July 27, 2010 at 06:55 AM, Michael Chu said...
Just to let everyone know, there's a huge sale that should be running on Costco.com for the 13-piece knife set in triangle block for $100 off ($199!). The sale is for one day only and is for July 27, 2010.
http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.aspx?Prodid=11544405


On December 04, 2010 at 06:11 PM, chieming said...
Subject: Costco Sale
I just remembered about reading this article and promising myself that I'm going to get them when they become available, and what do you know? Costco is having the $199 deal again! ("through December 12, 2010. While supplies last.") Got myself a Christmas present :D
http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.aspx?Prodid=11588912


On December 26, 2010 at 05:01 AM, wordek (guest) said...
Subject: block alone?
Hope someone is still reading this string of comments!

I just received the chef bag set today and so far I am very pleased from the limited testing I have done with it.

My next question since I would like a beautiful way to store these at home as well - does anyone know if there is a way to purchase the triangle block alone? I love the design but for me getting the specific knives in the bag set with the bag for versatility was the better fit...

Thanks and Merry Christmas all!


On December 27, 2010 at 05:47 PM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: block alone?
wordek wrote:
My next question since I would like a beautiful way to store these at home as well - does anyone know if there is a way to purchase the triangle block alone? I love the design but for me getting the specific knives in the bag set with the bag for versatility was the better fit...

Keep a look out on the Saber Knives website. The latest update from Saber Knives is that they plan on adding the knife block to be sold on the website directly. I'm not sure when this will happen, so keep checking once in a while.


On February 16, 2011 at 01:03 AM, pattidrives (guest) said...
Subject: Saber Knives
Hello Michael,

I love working in my kitchen. It is an extension of my childhood, from when my sister and I worked along side our mom, in her kitchen. She showed us how to prepare food for large family style meals and how to bake for birthdays and holidays. The last few years, I've been noticing fatigue and cramping in my hand, while chopping and preparing food, so I've decided to upgrade my kitchen knives, in order to make it a bit easier for me.

Over the years, I have acquired a few knives that have served me well but this is the first time I have allowed myself to become serious about finding and purchasing good knives. Searching kitchen knife reviews led me to Cooking For Engineers. The first article I read was Chef's Knives Rated. I've been price checking and comparing the MAC MTH-80 Mighty Chef to other chef knives for over a while now...They cost more since the article was written...Even so, I am tempted to purchase one, but I would still need more knives. Would you put together and share with me, a mix and match knife (make/model/size/cost) ensemble (paring/boning/utility/santoku/chef/bread/carver/cleaver) that you think would make up a good variety of knives to have on hand in the kitchen? I surely would appreciate it.

After trying to wrap my head around the cost of the new knives I would like to own, I'd be lying if I said that this Saber Kitchen Knives article didn't make me happy and excited. They do appear to be a great cost saving value and the reviews are stellar. I read that Saber uses German stainless steel X45CrMoV15, while the high end German (more expensive) competitors use X50CrMoV15 or X55CrMoV15. What do the numbers 45, 50 and 55 mean? What does it mean in terms of steel quality, stain resistance and durability for long term use comparisons?

Can you recommended any home knife sharpeners for MAC/Japanese knives or Saber/German knives?

Thanks


On February 16, 2011 at 03:22 PM, Jim Cooley said...
My advice comes from the opposite end: do everything you can not to dull them!

Never, ever use a sharp knife on anything harder than maple, and even that's stretching it a bit.

Soft cutting boards (even wet wood is softer than dry)

No sawing through bone with a chef's knife when another tool would be better suited to the job.

Dry immediately after use. Sharpness is a microscopic function, and water + metal equals corrosion, no matter how "stainless" the steel.

Until you know your tools intimately -- which may take a few years, find a good, reliable knife sharpener and visit him regularly and keep asking why your knives don't stay sharp. Ask HIM for advice! If he's any good he'll tell you why, and what any good doctor would: "I hope I don't see you for a long, long time!"


On February 19, 2011 at 07:49 PM, matthew (guest) said...
Subject: individual knives or the set
So just like the guy a few days ago asked, i have been looking for new knives.. was just going to buy some individually but in general this set looks strong.

You dont typically write reviews like this one, where you give it so many points without the cons. Do you think that this set is strong enough of its own or would you prefer some of the blades and then mix and match with other individual blades you find in your other reviews?

Basically i would really like you to answer the guys question from like 2 days ago.


On February 19, 2011 at 08:30 PM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: individual knives or the set
matthew wrote:
You dont typically write reviews like this one, where you give it so many points without the cons. Do you think that this set is strong enough of its own or would you prefer some of the blades and then mix and match with other individual blades you find in your other reviews?

Most of the cons will be related to how the knife feels in your hand or if the curvature of the blade will suit you. That's true for each knife in the set. For that reason I use a variety of different knives. I still use a Mac MTH-80 for my chef's knife, a Forschner for my boning, a Shun for my paring...

The Saber set is a very strong set (performing as well or better than my Henckels and Wusthof blades) - it's good all around, but it's unlikely that any particular knife set will have the best chef's, bread, paring, boning, etc. knife for you. At this price, though, I think it's one of the best values you can find in today's marketplace.

If you're want the best individual pieces for you, then it's going to be a long process that involves trying and buying a lot of knives to piece together the set you will use. Along the way, you'll end up with a bunch of extra pieces that just didn't feel right after a few weeks, etc. I think it might make sense to get a set of Saber Knives as a starting point since most of your cutting needs will be met by them and then if you don't like a particular piece, replace it with something you do like better in the future. If you end up liking all the pieces, then your search is over. Unfortunately, once a reviewer confirms a certain level of quality and performance has been reached, the individual buyer needs to pick from all the ones the reviewers like to see what is best for him. Are you hands, fingers, arms, table setup, etc. more similar to mine or another reviewers? All these variables play into whether or not you'll find the use of the knife pleasurable and comfortable.


On February 19, 2011 at 08:34 PM, Dilbert said...
Matthew -

here's the naked truth:

there is no universal "best" for every cook on the planet.

if you buy a decent set of knives in terms of overall construction and metals, the only thing left is how the handle fits your hand and whether you are comfortable with the blade geometry.

translations:

good construction = full tang; 2-3 rivets on the handle; bolster if you want one.

metals: Chinese lead knives just don't hold an edge. cheap knives usually are not made from high quality steel.

steel: take your pick - the classic carbon steel knives that will discolor and patina or stainless. don't get hung up on Brand X has a Rockwell C hardness that is 1.1435632 more that Brand Y - in practice it doesn't make a difference.

the handle: they're all different. whether the handle feels right in your hand is something only you can judge.

blade geometry: a chef's knife is not a chef's knife. there is no ISO documents that describes how long, how much belly, where the belly starts, etc., a chef's knife should have.

geometry gets more important as you move into different "general styles" - for example the santuko - same lengths available as for chef's knives, but the blade shape is flatter. too flat, not flat enough, maybe a cleaver style? absolutely impossible to 'predict' - those are things you need to decide based on your own use and habits.

here's a good approach - pick out the sizes & styles you think you are interested in. go the five&dime and buy a cheap knife with the handle & geometry that appeals. check it out. you should expect that it will not hold an edge all too long (that's the cheap metal thing) - but it will give you some cheap, up close and personal experience you can use when you decide to plunk down more cash.


On February 23, 2011 at 01:12 AM, matthew (guest) said...
Subject: website
Allow me to express myself : this website and its viewers completely rock.


On February 25, 2011 at 06:40 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: WOW
Hello i am from Canada, I was looking into these amazing knives for culinary school and was dissapointed when i found out that i couldnt get it through amazon or costco b.c i live in Canada. So i went to the Saber knive website emailed the company, checked my emails later that night and Rich himself CEO emailed back saying he is working on geting it in canada at costco on the website. He then offered to ship the knive set to me himself. I mean how great is that. A week later and $300 later (thats including shipping and boarder fee) i have my set and absolutely love them.

Thanks Rich


On June 15, 2011 at 09:16 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: saber @ costco
there is a smaller set available at costco.

http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.aspx?Prodid=11653207


On November 30, 2011 at 04:59 AM, AC (guest) said...
Subject: Really inexpensive but good knives
I have bought all different kinds of knives. I was shocked to see that the chef knife I bought at Benny's for 6 dollars, was a great knife, after I sharpened it it was even better, and managed to keep an edge.
It would be interesting to have a knife review for chef knives under 20 dollars, I am sure this knife would do great. I will try and get back with more details.


On May 25, 2012 at 05:16 AM, Grendy said...
There's a lot of best knife e can found in shop of amazon. I think Saber Kitchen Knives are one the best knives that i bought. It have a good quality!
B)


On November 26, 2012 at 11:15 PM, Rocket (guest) said...
Subject: Too much of a good thing
Costco currently offers the 16-piece Saber set for $170.

This might sound like a bargain, but frankly, who needs all this crap? I am a CIA graduate and longtime culinary professional, and all I really use is a 10-inch chef's, bread knife, boning knife, and very occasionally a fillet knife. The steak knives, shears, sharpener, and monstrous block are just clutter.

Some time ago, Costco offered another brand of "German" knives. The knives themselves were subpar IMHO but I liked that they were offered a la carte. Any chance Saber will offer something simliar to Costco customers?

About CfE Contact User Agreement FAQ's In the Press Write for CfE